Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I LOVE my Dietitian

No. Really. I love her. I have been to dietitians before (once in college, once after college) and they have always told me things I already knew: portion control, calorie control, exercise, blah blah blah. But since my insurance covers it I decided what the hell, I'll give it another try. So glad I did. In the two weeks since I started seeing her I have lost 5 pounds. Five! Before that I had been in a standstill for almost two months! So now I have about 11 pounds to go and 50 pounds total I have lost since last January.

I am hoping I can drop three more before my next appointment with the RE on the 11th. She said it is do-able, and gave me lots of tips to make sure I am as low as I can healthily be at the appointment. Stuff like restricting sodium starting two days before the appointment and really pushing liquids. She hasn't done anything amazingly crazy to my diet. We rearranged my calories a little so I get more in the morning and a little less in the evening. I have cut out ALL coffee, not just Starbucks. And we upped my protein a lot, I really wasn't getting anywhere near enough before.

She has even started talking about what we will do when I do get pregnant. We are talking about putting me on the diabetic diet straight off the bat since my Mom had gestational diabetes with all of us. If I can avoid the whole GD train I am all for it. But I just love that she isn't just thinking about what is going to get me this goal, she is thinking about where we go once I get there.

It doesn't hurt that she also has the exact same sense of humor as me, and started dropping f-bombs left and right after I did. She also does this funny thing where she randomly picks up her calculator and taps numbers furiously into, writes whatever she got down and then goes on talking like she never did anything, and never references what she was calculating. I find it hilarious!

I am feeling more and more optimistic about the IVF consult with my RE. I literally can not wait to walk in and get weighed so he can see how hard I have been working. The next 12 days can not go fast enough!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Finally... Cookie Recipes

It took longer for me to put these up than I wanted. Sorry about that, but it felt like I was racing back and forth from my parent's house to mine all week. So finally, here are the Christmas cookie recipes I made last week. Only two this time, most years I make five or more different kinda of cookies. But this year everything was just too crazy so I didn't have time.

First up is the teaser cookie I showed you in the last post.
Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tpsn vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 bag chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli best)
1 cup toffee peices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir flour, sbaking soda, and salt together and set aside.

Beat butter with the sugars until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time. Mix on low until everything is incorporated.

Gradually blend flour micture into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee. Drop by the tablespoon (I use a small ice cream scoop) onto a cookie pan. Bake for 9 mintues or until the cookies are still slightly under done in the middle (that is how I like them anyway). Cool and enjoy with a glass of milk.

And now, my favorite...
Chocolate Peppermint Chocolate Chunk Cookies
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until almost melted; do not overheat.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, peppermint extract and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 10 to 15 minutes.

And now for some rndom Christmas goodies
Xmas Eve-8

Xmas Eve-4

There is a long and painful story behing these crepes. I love crepes. I love making crepes. It is very zen. You drop the batter in the pain and roll it around till it covers the whole bottom. Then you flip it, and cook the other side for just a second ot two and slide it onto a plate.
Xmas Eve-3

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Treatment Train

I am very very anxious to hop back on the treatment train. I hate not being able to do anything fertility related. I see all my left over meds in my crisper drawer and it just makes me so impatient. I want to inject myself with fertility meds damn it! Bring on the Ganirlex and Gonal F, hell even the Lupron that I am allergic to. Anything. Just so I am not standing still anymore.

I have an appointment with my wonderful RE in two weeks. It is just a consultation. I keep having this fantasy about going to the office, which I know is an odd thing to fantasize about. Here is how it goes: I walk into his office and sit down. We start chatting about how I have been since my last cycle (can't even remember when that was now). Then we start talking about testing that needs to be done and the protocol he wants to put me on. Then he looks in my chart and says how awesome he thinks it is that I have lost over 40 pounds since April, and screw the last ten pounds, let's start this IVF next cycle! God that would be awesome. I know it won't happen, but a girl can dream.

The new plan my nutritionist has me on seems to be working. I have lost a pound an a half in the past week, which is great. I miss my Starbucks, but I will live. I still need to get to the gym more often. I took two weeks off from the gym, and since going back I have only been able to go every other day. Hopefully after the holidays I will be able to start going everyday again.

Now, I believe I promised some baked goodness. So here is just a teaser, I will post the recipe as my Christmas Eve present to my followers (all 36 of you). So here is your tease:

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I know, I know... I have been seriously M.I.A. lately. It is amazing how I can go from looking for things to keep me busy and my mind off all things fertility and baby related, to wishing everything would slow down and stop piling on top of me. Work has been nuts as usual. I really wish I could leave and find a less stressful job (one where.. gasp.. I might be appreciated at). Damn awesome insurance preventing me from leaving.

So here is the update: Nothing New.

I am still stuck in this damn plateau. I have been in the same 2 pound range for almost two months now. I finally broke down and made an appointment with a nutritionist. I thought it would be the same old thing I have heard from every diet/doctor I have talked to in the past. Portion control, cut out the sugars and carbs, blah blah blah. But she was actually awesome and had some great tips. She thinks I am right on with my calorie intake, but we need to mix it up a little and re-distribute the calories throughout the day. She also said I am not eating near enough protein. So she gave me a basic outline of a meal plan, and told me to cut it out with all the Starbucks. Which I already knew, and I suppose I will have to cut out the caffeine when I get pregnant (notice I am saying 'when' and not 'if' now). So I am switching to green tea instead of my daily grande non-fat peppermint mochas. More than anything though this appointment has gotten me excited about trying to lose weight again. After the first 40 pounds I was kinda just tired, and then with things stalling I was frustrated. But I am starting to feel that old motivational push again.

I also went and talked to an acupuncturist, and I think I will be starting treatments with him every other week in January. I am both excited and nervous about being stuck with dozens of needles.

Also I have decided I am getting this IVF bus rolling. Screw the last 15 pounds, I set up a consult with my RE to talk about our IVF options. I want to know specifics. What protocol will we try first, are we going to do ICSI, what testing do I need done before we start? And I want to get all the tests done before I hit my goal. that way as soon as I see those magic numbers on the scale we can just start jabbing me with needles and get those follies growing damn it! I am ready! I am sick of getting passed by people who have been married half as long as we have!

So I guess that is a little more than nothing new. Expect lots and lots of baking coming up. I am making a birthday cake for my hubby today (a skull cake no less) and I have just crap loads of Christmas baking to do. With any luck things are starting to seriously look up around here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gym Characters....

I hate the gym. This is no secret. But I go because I need to. One thing I do love about going to my gym are the random crazy, crazy people I encounter there. Here, for your reading pleasure, are my favorite characters at the gym.

Crazy Zumba Girl: I think there is probably one of these girls in every Zumba, Step, Body Jam/Pump/Combat class in every city. But I may be wrong. She usually shows up to class with a full face of make-up and hair piled high and hair-sprayed into a vaguely helmet like shape. She is wearing head to toe Zumba gear. She is not the instructor. She yells energetically at odd points in songs. She improvises some of her own moves, including adding spins, twirls and, most importantly, spirit fingers. In some respects I wish I was like her. She dances in class like she doesn't have a care in the world, and yet somehow doesn't sweat. I sweat in the warm up songs. She makes class more interesting. When I am ready to drop from exhaustion, I just think 'hey, the crazy Zumba girl probably spent an hour doing her hair and make-up before coming to class and she is still going, all you did is roll out of bed, so you can do it too."

Crazy Walking Dude: This is my favorite of the guys at my gym. He always comes wearing khaki cargo shorts and black socks pulled up to his knees, and a random band t-shirt. All I have ever seen him do is walk on the tread mill. But the most interesting thing about him is the way he walks on the treadmill. He starts off at a slow pace (maybe 2.5mph) and he takes huge strides, lifting his knee almost to his chin as he takes a step. He pumps his arms in really wide sweeping motion, almost like he is going to lose control of them and they will start spinning in circles at any moment. Then just when you think he can't be any weirder, he turns around and skips backwards on the treadmill. Don't ask me how he is able to do this, I can barely run forwards without tripping over my own feet. And this whole time he has the biggest smile on his face. He kinda reminds me of a tiny Charlie Chaplin.

Ballet Guy: I love this guy. I get so excited when I get to the gym and he walks in after me. He does an entire 30 minute ballet stretching routine right in front of his treadmill. We are talking plies, extensions, and arabesques. It would be quite beautiful if he didn't wear holey yoga pants and tie dyed t-shirts everyday. Then after his thirty minutes of stretches he does exactly 10 minutes of jazz running on the treadmill. Then another ten minutes of stretching and then he leaves. Awesome.

The Diva: I will never understand this woman. And there are actually a lot of them at my gym. She comes in wearing full make-up, hair blown into a perfect do, huge shiny jewelry on every ear, finger, neck and wrist available. It must take a feat of strength I will never possess to just walk into the gym being weighed down by all the bling she has on. And then she proceeds to do nothing but sashay on the treadmill. That is the only way I can describe it. It looks like she is modeling the highest fashions in Paris, not sporting yoga pants and a tank top (admittedly they are probably the highest priced yoga pants available). Then another diva will walk up, and they will both stop and gossip for most of my workout. Someday I am going to turn off my music and just try and eavesdrop on their conversations. Then after they have talked for a while, she will start her treadmill back up and sashay for a few more minutes before calling it a day.

In addition to the characters I just described I am also a big fan of: daisy dukes girl, denim guy, the super muscle bound roid ragin' guys in the weight room, and the reason why I try and avoid the locker room if I can help it) the old ladies who walk around the locker room butt naked.

I hope there is not some other blogger out there somewhere writing about the gross sweaty, overweight girl in the cupcake t-shirt stumbling along on the treadmill. I mean really who does she think she is fooling?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Feeling a little better

I am sorry my last post was such a downer. I was in a bad way that day. I am starting to feel a little better. I still haven't lost any weight in the past couple days, but a lot of friends have offered support and encouragement this week, and that helped immensely. I have a family friend who owns a gym and is very into health, she has agreed to look at my food diary for this week and come up with a plan to get me going again. I am also going to ask her to make a workout plan for me, and I may go see a personal trainer as well. I am still frustrated beyond believe, but I just have to keep reminding myself that if I power through this I will eventually start losing weight again. I can't give up and let myself go.

I have had a lot of people tell me that I am probably just gaining muscle and that is why I haven't lost weight. I am not sure I completely buy that, but even if it is true it doesn't make me feel much better. I could honestly give two sh*ts about gaining muscle. If it doesn't make the number on my scale go down, and hence my BMI go down, than I don't give a damn. I realize that probably sounds weird to those that are into the whole fitness thing, but that just isn't me. Don't get me wrong, I think it is cool seeing the difference in my body since all this started, but I was perfectly content the way I was before. If I could be fat and get pregnant (and stay pregnant) I would be ecstatic. I think it is neat that I can run for three minutes straight now, but I am not a fan of running or exercise in general. I like to go on walks with the hubs and the dogs, but other than that give me a couch and a couple books and I could stay in the same position for days on end.

With all that said, I must admit getting compliments from people on my weight loss is kinda awesome. Just this week I have had three people ask me if I have lost weight. It's nice to be able to brag about all the work I have done, even if no one knows the reason behind all this.

Enough of all that. Here is what you have to look forward to from me in the next week: BAKING! It is my nephew's 1st birthday this weekend and I am making two cakes for the occasion (one for smashing, one for eating) and I am also making cupcakes for work Sunday for a last minute party. So expect lots of pictures!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One of them days....

I have officially plateaued. I haven't lost a single pound in the past three weeks. It is so frustrating because I am working harder than I ever have before. I am working out two hours a day, never eating more than 1800 calories a day. But it's not making a single bit of difference. I don't know what to do. If the weight loss doesn't pick back up soon I don't know when or if we will be able to do IVF. It is so depressing knowing that the reason we may never be able to have kids is because I don't have enough will power to lose a measly twenty more pounds. It's like the forty pounds I have lost so far mean nothing. And really they don't mean anything. If I can't get down to a BMI of 40 I can't do IVF, if I can't do IVF I can't have kids. Maybe someday my husband will come around to the idea of adoption, but right now he isn't open to it.

So our entire future as a family rests on me dropping twenty pounds. That is so much pressure. I know he could be happy with it just being the two of us. And I probably could be happy with that someday too. But I will always have the knowledge that I failed in the one thing I have wanted all my life. I just don't know what to do to prevent that from happening.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life on Repeat

If my life were an Ipod it would be stuck on repeat. My days have become one long routine that just cycle over and over and over.

8am: Wake Up, let dogs out, eat breakfast
9am: Go to Yoga or Body Pump, and run on the treadmill
11am: Home - plan dinner, do housework, feed dogs, watch TV, eat lunch
1:30pm: Get ready for work, talk to the hubby when he wakes up
3pm: Work
12am: Go home, let dogs out, watch 1 hour of TV
1:30am: Sleep


As much as I hate it, this is the way my life has to be right now. If I don't follow this routine then I will fall off the wagon and start packing the pounds back on. I wish I could press shuffle on my life. Throw in a day trip to Philly, an AHL hockey game, buy a ticket to Vegas and go spend a couple uninterrupted days of just me, the hubs, some good food and not a gym in site. But the slightest change in routine and I lose all will power. A trip to Philly would result in cheese-steaks, desserts, and dinners in Indian restaurants. An AHL game would be filled with hot dogs, pretzels and funnel cake. Vegas would be pure culinary sin.

Here is an example of one little change in the routine throwing everything off. I went to my parents' house on Monday and hung out with my sis and nephews. We went pumpkin picking, took some pictures and just had a great time. Then we go back to the house and I proceed to stuff my face with vegetarian 7-layer dip, tortilla chips, and tuna noodle casserole. I can't help it, the minute I step in my childhood home I feel the need to eat everything in sight. Thankfully I had worked out like a maniac that morning, so I didn't gain any weight from my moment of weakness.

Life right now just seems so life-less. Everything I do and think is about losing weight and getting ready for IVF. I want to shake things up. I want to figure out a way to have one day without worrying about whether or not we are ever going to have our family. I want a day to just enjoy being a married couple with nothing but two dogs tying us to this place. I want a day where I don't feel like a failure or a broken woman. But if I take that one day, I am afraid I will be sacrificing my one chance to have a family. I know it isn't logical, but let's face it, fear isn't always logical.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Worst Side Effect

It isn't just all the hormones and drugs that cause side effects. Just having an infertility diagnosis has side effects all its own. The worst of which is the loss of the ability to be happy for couples who have the amazing fortune to be able to get pregnant easily and naturally. Once you hit your late twenties to early thirties everyone around you starts getting pregnant. In the past two months alone I have known 10 people who announced they were pregnant. Five people at work, four friends on facebook, and one kid I used to babysit. I can't even bring myself to type the number of people who have gotten pregnant around us in the two years since we started trying.

Every single one gets harder. I wish more than anything that I was big enough to be able squeal and clap and hug everyone that told me they were pregnant. But I just don't have it in me anymore. I can't even properly fake it anymore. I am lucky if I can force a smile on my face when I hear the news. More often I have to excuse myself quickly and find a quite place to cry.

Being stripped of the ability to feel happiness for other people and having it replaced with jealousy and bitterness is one of the most demoralizing things I have ever experienced. And that is coming from a girl who was stalked by an ex-boyfriend, emotionally neglected by a boyfriend, and constantly bullied in school. It feels like I am in the middle of a NASCAR race, stalled in the middle of the track with everyone else zooming by at break neck speeds, while I just stand still and watch. And there is nothing I can do about it.

I wish I could be like the Boy in the Bubble. I wish I could hide in a sensory deprivation chamber with a sign hanging on the door that says "Do Not Disturb, the slightest hint that you could be pregnant and this woman could crack for good." I wish everyone with a properly functioning repoductive system could just leave me alone until I can start my IVF cycle and get some hope back.

Ugh... OK enough whining for now. Hopefully the next post I will have something more pleasant to talk about.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

95 Calorie Cupcakes, and Competition Standings

The Cupcake Cup standings were posted last week and I am very happy and proud to report that I came in third place in the amateur category! I was so excited I decided to bake the next day. But since I am very focused on my diet I decided to make a low fat version of one of my favorite recipes. So here is the recipe for Low-Fat Roasted Banana Mini-Cupcakes with Caramel Sauce and Low-Fat Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. Enjoy!


Low-Fat Roasted Banana Cupcakes
(adapted from Martha Stewart, changes in italics)
Makes 80 Mini Cupcakes

3 ripe bananas, plus 1-2 more for garnish
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted light butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Place 3 whole unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and roast 15 minutes (the peels will darken). Meanwhile, sift together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Remove bananas from oven and let cool before peeling. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

2. With a mixer on med-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add roasted bananas, and beat to combine. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of sour cream, and beating until just combined after each. Beat in vanilla.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a tester in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
For the low fat chocolate version used this recipe. Just substitute 1/3 less fat cream cheese and use 3 cups powdered sugar and 1 cup cocoa powder. Enjoy!

Caramel Sauce

Nutrition Info:
1 mini cupcake, w/ 1 tsp caramel, & 1tsp frosting
Calories = 95
Fat = 5
Fiber = .5

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Instruments of Torture

That is what I saw everywhere I looked when I walked into the gym this morning. It was not a good gym day. I wanted to give up before I even stepped on the treadmill. But then I took out my phone and I looked at a couple pictures of my nephews and reminded myself why I am doing all this. I want a family, this is the only way I am going to get there. So I jumped on that damn hamster wheel for humans and suffered through 36 minutes of wanting to throw up or pass out.

While I was trudging along I started forming this post in my head. This is my motivation post. I am going to refer back to this post whenever I need a little extra kick in the exercise pants.

First an update on my progress thus far. Since I started my weight loss quest in April I have lost a total of 35 pounds. That is about a pound and a half a week. This is by far the most I have ever lost on a diet. I am noticing a difference in my clothes on an almost weekly basis now, which is pretty damn awesome.

Aaaaand now some motivation. these are the things I think about on the treadmill instead of the pain and sweat. First the whole reason I am here. Babies. Children. Family. More than anything else I want to be able to read my kids bed time stories. Sit at the dining room table and do math homework (I will only be a help up until about 6th grade then it is the hub's turn). I want to be embarrassed in the middle of Target when my kid has a tantrum over a toy. Seriously, I welcome it.

And once I get those kids, I want to be around for a very, very long time. I plan on torturing my kids with how actively I participate in their lives. I am sure I will annoy the crap out of them, like mine did for me. But hopefully when they reach their mid twenties they will be as close with us as I am with my Mom and Dad. Hopefully they will look back at all the basketball games, plays, and lectures about not smoking and thank me, like I do my parents. I am going to need to be healthy for that to happen.

I don't want my kids to be tortured at school because of their weight. I don't want my kids to come home every day from school crying because someone left a can of Slim Fast on their desk, or wrote a note in their year book saying they should work out over the summer. Maybe if I can fix my eating habits now, I will better be able to help my kids have good habits from the start. And maybe they won't get picked on quite as much as I did in school.

I want to go on a vacation with my husband and not be shrouded in big t-shirts and shorts on the beach. I am never going to be a bikini girl, I am cool with that. But it would be nice to feel comfortable in a bathing suit lounging on the deck of some cruise ship holding the hand of my hubs without the little voice in the back of my head telling me to cover up before someone sees me.

Those thoughts are what keep me going. And when those start to fail I fixate on the little pulsing digital hearts on the stationary bike monitors around me. I picture that little heart is beating in my belly, pumping away, telling me to keep going so we can meet. I picture seeing that little heart beat on an ultrasound monitor some day, instead of just seeing the little black circles in my ovaries that cycle after cycle don't turn into a baby. When I want to drop right there on the tread mill and let it shoot me back against the wall so I can just lay there not moving, that little green digital heart is what keeps me on my feet.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Harrisburg Cupcake Cup 2010

This weekend was the 2010 Harrisburg Cupcake Cup, and your favorite infertile crohnie baker entered in the amateur category. Unfortunately I did not win, but I had a damn good time baking all weekend and eating lots of cupcakes. And best of all the event raised almost $1500 for the Central Pa Food Bank!

I made Chai Caramel Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream. I think these may be my favorite of all the cupcakes I have ever made. So for your enjoyment here are just a couple pictures from the event, and don't forget to check out the recipe for my Chai Caramel Cupcakes at the bottom of the post.

Here are my cupcakes. The little pumpkin and leaf are homemade fondant that I spent hours shaping into little pumpkins.

Check out all the gorgeous cupcakes! The contestants really brought it this weekend, they were all very good!

The crowds were amazing! It was jam packed in the Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

And finally a last shot of my nephew chowing down on one of the cupcakes. He takes his cupcake tasting very seriously.

And here is the recipe:

Chai Cupcakes:
2 cups cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black tea (grind in coffee or spice grinder)
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine all the dry ingredients; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.

In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat.

Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons butter (room temp.)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (room temp.)

Combine sugar and water in a large heavy sauce pan. Use at least a 2 or 3 quart pan. Heat the sugar mixture over medium high heat until it starts to boil. You have to pay close attention once it starts to boil because it will begin to caramelize very very quickly. When the sugar gets to be medium amber in color whisk in the butter and continue to whisk until all the butter has melted. The caramel will bubble A LOT this is why you need such a big pan, otherwise it would all bubble over and make a huge hot mess.

Once the butter has melted remove the pan from heat and count to five. After you count to five slowly pour in the heavy cream while whisking constantly. It will again bubble up a lot. Continue to whisk until the caramel has stopped bubbling and is completely smooth. Let stand in the pan for five to ten minutes then transfer to a glass bowl to continue cooling.

Once the caramel is cooled simply cut out a cone shape in the middle of your cupcakes and fill with about a teaspoon or two of the caramel sauce and top with some vanilla buttercream.

And here is the recipe for Vanilla Buttercream

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Back To Work...

I was sprung from the hospital on Sunday and since then have just been taking it easy at home. The last time I had a flare (when I first got diagnosed) I tried rushing right back to work the day after being released from the hospital. And I didn't slow down on any of my duties. As a result I ended up bouncing in and out of the hospital three or four times before I got stabilized. This time I decided I was going to take three days off at home to see how I did. So far so good. Today is my first day back at work. I get dizzy sometimes thanks to the meds and having to run around the building and being on a low residue (low-fiber) diet doesn't help either, but for the most part I am fine.

Thanks to the liquid diet and puking I lost 2 pounds while in the hospital. I was on very high doses of IV steroids while in the hospital, and I will be on them orally for at least a month, possibly two. I am very nervous about what the steroids are going to do for my weight loss efforts. Last time I was on high doses of Prednisone I wasn't actively trying to lose weight so I didn't really pay attention to that aspect of things. This time I am determined to lose this weight as quickly and safely as possible. The problem is Prednisone makes you feel ravenously hungry all. the. time. I literally feel like there is a giant empty hole in the pit of my stomach all day long, including right after I eat a meal. I am trying to eat several small meals a day to try and compensate, but so far I have had to just suck it up and deal with feeling hungry all the time.

Prednisone also makes you retain water like crazy, so I am waiting for my ankles and face to start swelling any day now. My fingers are already getting there. I expect I won't be able to wear my wedding rings for much longer which makes me very sad. I love my rings, they are perfect and my husband put so much thought into them, I hate not being able to wear them. I am going to take a before shot tonight of my face, and then after the swelling starts I will take an after shot so you can see the difference the 'roids make. Patients call it Moon Face. Everything just gets bigger and rounder, and it doesn't go away until you have been off the steroids for a few weeks.

I am anxious to see what my regular GI doctor has to say about all this happening. Dr. W is awesome (and very cute) and I know he won't mind sitting there answering all my questions, which is the sign of a good doctor in my book. The main concern is that this flare started exactly a week after my last Remicade infusion. This really shouldn't happen. Remicade has kept me in remission for the past three-four years, I have no clue why this happened now all of a sudden. I am also concerned about what we will do from here on out. Stay on remicade? Increase the frequency of infusions? Switch to another drug? I will definitely be getting a Colonoscopy in the next few weeks. That is always fun.

On a much lighter and more fun note, this weekend is the Harrisburg Cupcake Cup 2010! I am making Chai Caramel Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Buttercream, and I will be making fondant pumpkins and leaves as decoration. I am very excited at the prospect of doing something just for fun, and I am taking that one day off of my diet so I can eat a couple cupcakes. Plus, I took the day off work for the occasion, which is always a bonus. I am going to teach my DH how to use my camera so that he can document the whole day from baking to judging, so expect a huge photo heavy post sometime next week. And of course I will post the recipe as well after the competition. Wish me Luck!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Live From the Hospital

It's your favorite Crohn's patient! That's right, since my body has decided it truly hates me it decided that the week after finding out I am not pregnant was a great time to start a Crohn's flare up. Awesome. And in typical Chrissy style, I had to do it stages. Tuesday night started the severe cramping an nausea, so I made an ER run. They pumped me full of drugs and sent me home with some nice 'roids. Flash forward to Wednesday night I am in even more pain. So much so that I can't take it. Even though I know what the ER docs will say, that the steroids haven't had enough time to work yet, to stick with them and the all liquid all the time diet and in a few days I will feel better. Ok, you sit here for the next three days feeling like someone is trying to rip your Colon out of your belly-button and then say that to me again Doc.

So just as they were discharging me Wednesday night I went to the bathroom to get changed into my clothes and promptly started throwing up everywhere. I knew it was going to happen about ten seconds before hand. Just enough time to yell to my Mom in my room to get a nurse. Can I just tell everyone how painful it is to throw up when you haven't eaten anything substantial in two days. It really and truly sucks. So the nurse rushes in, sees me puking and rushes back out to get my Dr. Once I stop throwing up long enough to come out of the bathroom he says "Ok we will admit you." Gee thanks doc. Once you start puking they have to admit you b/c they have to carefully watch your hydration levels, especially when you have been eating less than 1000 calories a day on a liquid diet.

So here I sit, in my tiny cramped hospital room, with guard rails on the sides of my bed and an IV sticking out of the crook of my elbow. I have been here so many times before it almost feels like home. Not quite though which explains why I am writing this at 2:30am. I can never sleep at night in hospitals. Don't know why. During the day no problem, night no way no how.

I have no clue how long I will be in here. Hopefully only a day or two more. There will be lots of tests and scans I am sure. More Steroids and various other drugs as well. Gaggles of doctors will troop in and out of my room through out the day and insist on poking my very tender, sore belly. And hopefully tomorrow I will get up graded to light solids. I love that I am excited about the prospect of bland chicken from the hospital.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

3 Follies + 50 million Sperm =

No baby for us. I am pretty sure I have said it before, and I will say it again now. I have no clue how it is physically possible to have multiple eggs release, millions upon millions of sperm injected directly into my uterus (fairly small organ btw) with perfect timing, and still not get pregnant. It just doesn't make sense. I was so so hopeful at the beginning of this cycle too. But once I heard what my progesterone level was, I just lost all hope. I knew this wouldn't be our month. I have come to terms with it now, so the phone call from the nurse this afternoon really wasn't that painful. It is just the norm at this point.

So our plan from here is to take another break. I am now convinced we will not get PG through anything other than IVF. Sometimes I even wonder if that will do it for us. I have about 40 pounds to lose before we can start IVF. I lost about 30 pounds in 5 months before this cycle, and I have only gained 1 pound back, so I am hoping I will be able to lose the rest of the weight in 6-7 months. That is about a pound and a half a week, totally do-able.

I was thinking about doing the South Beach Diet, but I know myself, and I know I would not be able to do a diet that cuts out an entire food group. Plus after the initial carb-less two weeks, there is a huge emphasis on whole grains, which would not be good for Crohn's. And the good old Crohn's has been treating me really well lately, so I don't want to mess with that. Instead I am going to stick with sparkpeople.

I started back up at the gym today, and have decided that starting next week I will be working out twice a day. I will go to the gym and either run/bike/do a class in the mornings then after work do either yoga or the 30 Day Shred in the evenings. Hopefully that will push things along at a nice clip.

My hope is that we will be able to get IVF rolling by Easter. I actually kind of like the idea of not cycling during the winter. I hated having to trek for an hour through the snow just to get bloodwork or an ultrasound.

I also decided I am not going to keep track of my cycles this break. I tried on our last break, and it was just annoying and obviously it isn't going to help anything, so I am just going to chill, focus on getting as healthy as is humanly possible. That's my plan and I am sticking to it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No Hope

I have lost all hope for this cycle. I talked to my nurse at the fertility clinic and my progesterone level(P4) was only 7.5. That is with taking 600mg of prometrium a day, which is supposed to raise your P4 levels. The P4 level indicates whether or not you ovulated and it also helps prepare your uterus for pregnancy. My P4 indicates that I probably did ovulate, but for a medicated cycle it is supposed to be over 15. So mine is half what it is supposed to be.

I am supposed to be getting a prescription for a new drug (just add it to the fing list) called progesterone in oil, or PIO. It is an intramuscular injection, which should be fun. The hubs and I have to go in tomorrow to learn how to do these new injections. The best part is no local pharmacies stock the PIO so they have to order it and it won't be in until tomorrow afternoon.

So I already feel like this cycle is a failure. By this point in the 2ww if fertilization would have happened then the embryo should already be implanted in my uterus. But if my levels are so low I have no faith that my uterus is doing any good right now. So the debate now is when I get a negative pregnancy test next week should we do another cycle right away of injections, IUI and PIO or should we take another break for me to lose the rest of the weight for IVF. Part of me wants to give IUI another shot with the PIO for the whole 2ww, maybe that will make the difference. But the other part thinks that we need to stop dicking around with IUIs and get the IVF train rolling. I don't know. Right now I just want to get a big tube of cookie dough and some depressing movies and cry for the rest of the night.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Here We Go....

Well this cycle went much faster than I expected. After only four days of stims I am triggered, and early tomorrow morning we will go in for our first of two back to back inseminations. I am so excited and hopeful I can't even describe it.

In total I have six follicles, but only three have the possibility of being mature enough to factor into this cycle. I had three on the right all measuring around 10mm. These are the three that will not be mature enough. I also have three on the left. One is at 18.5mm, one at 15mm, and the last at 14mm. Typically a follicle grows between 1-2mm per day, they need to be over 17mm for them to be considered mature. So it is possible that those two smaller ones will be mature enough to release by ovulation time. This is the best result we could have asked for with this cycle. We wanted two to three mature follies at ovulation, and that is what we got.

I am trying as hard as I can not to get my expectations too high, but it is very hard. I will admit I have been looking at baby stuff a lot more this week than i usually do. It doesn't help that I have a baby shower to go to next weekend and my nephew's birthday is coming up soon. But I don't just look at stuff for other people's kids, I look at stuff for our kids. I look at the things I would want for our babies. I imagine how i will tell people we are pregnant, and how our house would be with a baby around. I can't stop my mind from wandering to those places. And honestly I don't want to stop it. I will worry about the fall out later if this cycle doesn't work.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Love This Part

The starting part, when everything is possible and hope abounds. I get to start stims tonight. Finally. It feels like it has taken forever to get here, but in actuality it has only taken two or three weeks. After the horrible Lupron allergic reaction I waited patiently for Aunt Flow to come visit. And like a good guest she showed up right on time, much to my surprise. Of coarse with her came a chest rattling cough, but we can't have everything. So once good old AF got here I went in for the normal baseline bloodwork and ultrasound. The only thing off was my E2 (estradiol) levels, which were a little high. So in order to get them to come down I had to inject a drug called Ganirlex for two nights.

I just got the call that my levels are back with in normal range which means tonight I get to start the drug that will hopefully get my eggs a growing, Gonal F. I am beyond excited right now. I am thrilled. I have hope oozing out of every pore in my body. And it scares the crap out of me. As much as I love this beginning point when everything is possible, I am petrified of what comes in three weeks time. After all the injections, ultrasounds, bloodwork, inseminations and waiting comes the reality. And reality has consistently bitten me in the behind. I can guarantee one thing: in three weeks there will be tears. We just have to wait and see if they will be tears of joy or depression.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hello Other Shoe, I've Been Expecting You

I am having an allergic reaction to the Lupron. I have never had an allergic reaction to anything before, and let me tell you it blows! I have a red rash (kinda like heat rash) all over my arms, chest, shoulders, and back. It itches like mad! I also feel incredibly run down, but not sure if that is due to the Lupron or the massive amounts of Benadryl I have been taking in the past 24 hours.

So, obviously I have stopped the Lupron injections. Which may or may not screw up my cycle. I was only on it for two days, so there is the hope that it won't derail things too much, but there is also a possibility it will delay my period for about a week to two weeks. I was supposed to get it Wednesday, I am kinda doubting that is going to happen now. Which, again, blows. But I suppose I have waited five months to get started again, so another week or two isn't going to kill me.

Thanks to this whole episode I can feel some of the old anger creeping in. Most the time I am pretty calm about the whole fertility treatment thing. I get sad sometimes, and discouraged. But most the time I am OK. Before we started seeing Dr. F I was a mess though. I was pissed and depressed and just in a bad way. Knowing there is help out there has helped a lot. But this has driven me one step closer to my emotional edge.

Today I am pissed. Pissed that I have to inject myself nightly, get horrible rashes that interfere with going to work and living my life. Pissed that I have to do all this so that I can have the hope of achieving something that most women can do without thinking. I know so many women that have gotten pregnant when they didn't want a baby, didn't love the father, and weren't ready for motherhood. I am pissed at them all right now. Here I am ready, willing, desperately in love with my husband, and all I get are bruises and welts from injections. I get two years of pain and heart ache and hopelessness. And really there is no end in sight.

I knew things were going too well. I even said it a couple posts back. The other shoe was going to drop. Hello other shoe, you suck! I feel bad because I have been taking my anger out on my husband. But he is there, and I know he will love me no matter what, so sometimes it is just easier to be mad at him for stupid stuff than at the whole world. I know it is unfair, but I think he gets it. I just want this week to be over. I want it to be next week. I have all of next week off of work. I have massages and day trips to visit my sister and one of my best friends planned. I have plans to take beautiful pictures of my gorgeous niece. I have plans to sit on my butt and do absolutely nothing. I can't wait for nothing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

On the Road Again...

The road of fertility treatments that is. After a five month break we are back! And so are the hot flashes. Last night I gave myself my first Lupron injection. It wasn't too bad. I had one slight moment of hesitation before the plunge, but once I sucked it up I was fine. The needle does look a little bigger than my Ovidrel injections which intimidated me a little bit.

The really sucky part came about a half hour after the injection when I got hit full force with a hot flash that put the Clomid hot flashes to shame. I thought my face was on fire. I was so freaking hot I had to put our window a/c unit on full force despite the fact that it is leaking into our bedroom. But I got through it, and I am feeling pretty good today. I am not looking forward to going through that at work tonight though.

Here is the plan for this cycle: 20cc of Lupron for the next week or until I get my period, then I go in for baseline bloodwork and an ultrasound to get an Antral Follicle count (basically a count of the eggs that are ready to start growing before we start to stim them). Depending on how all the baseline tests come back we will start Gonal F (probably 75 iu) on cd 3 and we will step down the Lupron to 10cc which will prevent me from ovulating before I am ready. I will go in every two days for ultrasound follicle checks, when they see the follicles are around 18-20mm then I will do the Ovidrel trigger shot. We are going to do back to back inseminations this time around. The first will be 36 hours after the trigger shot and the second will be twenty four hours after that. If I get more than three or four follicles we will cancel the cycle since I have no desire to have a TLC show.

I must admit that my hopes are way, way, waaaaay to high. I haven't even started stimming yet and I am already pretty much convinced that this has to work. I need to get my emotions and hopes in check because if it doesn't work there is going to be an emotional break down of epic proportions.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why I Love Ross...

Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls I love them. You can get great stuff for pretty cheap, and here are my latest finds!

Ok I hate grocery store Vanilla Extract, but I can't always afford the super awesome stuff. That is when I head on over to Ross or one of the others and grab some of this:

It isn't the best vanilla on earth, but it is leaps and bounds better than the crap on the grocery store selves. I especially love the Vanilla Bean Paste. It is like if I had split and scrapped the seeds out of hundreds of vanilla bean pods and bottled them. Both these puppies cost $4.99.

Now my next purchase I am a little ashamed of. I normally hate boxed cake mixes, it is cheating in my book, but I love Halloween. It is my 2nd favorite holiday. And I love zombies and zombie movies, so I kinda had no choice but to buy a zombie cupcakes mix. I mean come on, it has bone sprinkles! The cupcakes were also $4.99.

And last is my secret obsession. Aprons, I love aprons. I especially love vintage looking aprons. I sometimes think I would have loved being a 50's stay at home Mom so I could walk around wearing aprons, pearls and high heels and not feel like an idiot. That is why I was so excited to find this apron, it combines that vintagey look with my love of Halloween. I will probably be wearing this during trick or treat this year. Possibly with a pair of heels and some fake black pearls. $7.99 to be a naughty Mrs. Cleaver, not bad!

Stay tuned for an up date on everything fertility related in my life, stuff is actually moving again!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Baby Shower Cupcakes, Recipes, and a Competition!

As I was baking some cupcakes for a family friend's baby shower last night I realized I have never posted my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe! How is that possible? So today is the day. I am also posting a fairly decent red velvet recipe, though I must admit I do not like red velvet. I am opposed to anything that only puts 1 TBSP of cocoa powder in a recipe. Either make it chocolate or don't, that is my theory.

I must warn all my readers, my brain is on energy conserve mode today. I was up until 4am last night making these cupcakes, so the ole noggin is moving at the break neck speeds of a snail. I was tapped to make 120 mini cupcakes for a woman that works with my Mom to give as favors for her daughters baby shower. Got that? She requested Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream, Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream, and Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. They all turned out pretty darn good, and I got some great pictures of them too, which I am trying to do more of. So with out further ado, here are the pics and recipes:

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

This recipe is from Ina Garten, with a few changes by yours truly in italics.
Double Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup cake flour
3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I use the instant coffee from Starbucks, it has a great taste and the benefit of only making one cup instead of brewing a whole pot)

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Line cupcake pans with paper cups and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated. The batter will be very very thin, that is A-OK.

Pour the batter into the prepared cups. Make sure not to fill them more than half way, they will rise A LOT. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, put onto a rack to cool completely.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe comes from the Southern Queen Paula Deen, again my changes are in italics.

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2-3 drops red food coloring gel
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound cream cheese
2 sticks butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

OK here is my big tip on how to make perfect Cream Cheese Frosting. DO NOT soften the cream cheese! The recipe will tell you to soften it or have it at room temp but don't! Take it straight from the fridge to bowl. Trust me. At room temp it gets gloppy and lumpy and kinda gross. Nice a cold from the fridge you will get smoothness every time.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

And finally, it is almost time for Cupcake Cup 2010!!! This is a cupcake competition in the Central Pa area. 2009 was the first year it was held. I made Chocolate Rum Marbled cupcakes and the judges sad they were too simple, so I am going all out this year. Expect a post in about two weeks with the choices for what I will make. I will open up voting to all 29 of my followers and to The Bump girls. Whatever you guys think I should make for the competition is what I will go with.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Watch Out for the Other Shoe....

Cause I swear it is coming. Things have been way too good the past couple days, something has got to give. The other shoe is going to come crashing down, I just know it.

First and foremost, my uncle is doing a lot better. He is home, and he knows his name and can say it. If you remember a few weeks ago I posted that he had Spinal Meningitis and when they asked what his name was he said "No." Apparently now he is back to his old ways at home, sneaking cheesecake behind my Aunt's back (he is on a quest to find the world's best cheesecake.)

Then we found out today that G's new job is going to pay more than we thought. His new job is 99% tips based, so we had to wait until he had a paycheck with two weeks of tips on it to know how things were looking. And they are looking good. Obviously his pay checks will fluctuate based on how generous people decide to be, but for now at least things are looking up financially. We even got to pay off a couple credit cards this week.

Then today I got the best news regarding fertility stuff since we started. I was told last week that the medications I need for our next cycle were going to cost around $850 dollars. We could swing it thanks to the saving we have been doing, but still, that number hurt a little. Dr. F said he wanted to work with the pharmacy and our insurance to find the cheapest drug available to us and the pharmacy would call to confirm the order when they got the price down a little. I wasn't expecting much, after all I had been told several times that drugs were not covered by my insurance, and I was OK with it because so much is covered.

Today I got the call from the specialty pharmacy. Thanks to Dr. F changing the drugs we will use and working with my insurance, we will only have to pay $70 for our meds! Apparently I was misinformed when I was told no meds were covered, actually they cover one med, Gonal F. Dr. F originally ordered Follistim, but since it wasn't covered he switched the order b/c he was going to use a voucher for one free vial of Gonal F. But it turns out it was covered. In addition he got the trigger injection covered too. I have no clue how he did this since I have had to pay the full price for it three times now, but he did. So I only have to pay two $30 co-pays and a $10 copay for the Lupron. The best part is if this cycle doesn't work and we end up moving onto IVF we won't have to pay much more than $70 for IVF meds.

I was so happy when I got the phone call I had to go hide in the bathroom at work to stop myself from crying. Now we can convert our IF savings account into a Nursery savings account. This gives me so much hope for our cycle, it is actually kind of scary. I was trying to keep my hope in check, because hope can be dangerous. Hope hurts, especially when it is crushed. I have been crushed enough for one year.

But now it is running wild inside my head. I know what it must feel like to be the furniture in my house when Wallace gets hyper and starts running and bounding off the couch and goes sliding into the dining room table. Because that is what it feels like is happening inside my head. Thoughts like "This is going to work" bounds off the side of my brain and collides with thoughts like "what color will we paint the nursery when this works?" I am in dangerous territory. The 110 pound dog running amok inside my head is named Hope and it could quite possibly leave more damage than any real dog ever could.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I am a big believer in couples having time away from one another. This was especially important for the G-man and I when we were working together on the same schedule. You just need some time to yourself or with friends where nothing is expected of you. No one is annoyed that you didn't take the garbage out or didn't pair the socks. But now that G and I are working in different fields on different schedules I feel like I need to make an extra effort to connect with him. We don't have the drive to and from work to talk and vent, or dinner break to joke around, and we don't go to bed or wake up at the same time anymore. Heck we rarely have a meal together anymore.

That is why this morning I decided to forgo my usual run followed by couch surfing while G slept till 1pm. Instead I corralled the dogs upstairs and I crawled into bed with the Hubs at noon and waited for him to wake up, which didn't take long (I swear he has a 6th sense for when I am in bed naked). It was fantastic. We just lounged in our undies in bed with the AC blasting full force so we could snuggle with out getting all sweaty. We had some awesome mid-day sex, and then just relaxed for hours. We talked, cuddled, had tickle fights, laughed at the dogs being idiots on the floor. We made plans for the week. When I got a little hungry G went and got us a couple Lean Pockets and we snuggled in to watch Kung Fu Panda. I snoozed a little, he texted his BFF a little. But mostly we were just together. The world outside our tiny little bedroom might as well have not existed. We could hear the crazy thunder and rain, but we really didn't care.

But eventually the bubble had to burst. I had to get up and take a shower before work, and he had to wash his uniform for work tonight. But even now sitting at work I can feel my closeness with him clinging to me. I can see his smile when we talked about how happy his new job is making him, and hear his laugh when I tickled the spot on his hip that always sends him squirming. Tomorrow we will be back to runs to the gym and the grocery store, bickering about whether or not we should spend the extra $.50 for name brand over generic. He'll be racing off to work, and I will spend the night watching cheesey TV shows meant for teenagers and going to bed early. But today I have the perfection of three hours spent in bed with the love of my life making me feel light and happy.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vanilla Lemon Lime Cupcakes

Summer always puts me in the mood for all things citrus. I decided last week I wanted to expand my baking horizons and try a few things I have never made before. So I decided to make Lemon Curd with the intent of using it as a filling for some cupcakes. Then I got sick and the lemon curd sat in my fridge for a week.

Finally today I felt better and got my baking pants back on. Since the lemon curd used up all of my lemons and I didn't feel like a run to the grocery store I opted to make Lime cupcakes and fill them with the curd. I took the recipe out of Martha Stewart's Cupcake cookbook only changed it around a little (I can't leave anything alone). After tasting the lemon curd with the cake I decided I would need a frosting that was light and sweet to cut through all the tartness. So I went with my classic Vanilla Buttercream that I adore. Seriously, if I could bath in that Vanilla Buttercream I would.

I must say they turned out great. Moist, but not sticky. Tart, and dare I say bright? The lime flavor gets lost a little with the lemon curd, but I didn't mind that much. And the buttercream did exactly what I wanted, it gives just enough sweetness so the lemon curd doesn't become over powering. I think the folks at work would agree that they were great since as soon as I walked in I had four guys swarming around me. This one is going straight into my scrap book where I keep all the 'keeper' recipes.

Here is the cupcake recipe as copied from Martha's website. I will italicize all changes I made to the recipes.

Lime Cupcakes

Makes 24 (I got 32)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
Finely grated zest of 3 limes (about 3 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk


-Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt.

-With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lime juice, and beating until just combined after each.

-Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

And here is the link to the Lemon Curd recipe which I used verbatim.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Yay... about to start up again!!!

First a couple pieces of good news on the weight loss front. Thanks to the last four days of being sick and barely being able to eat I am now down 25 pounds since April! And I went to my GI doc yesterday (everything on the Crohn's front is fine) and since my last check up with him i have lost 33 pounds! yay! I must say as much as I am annoyed with my body right now I am pretty proud that I am still doing so well with the weight loss. I can't remember the last time I was down to this weight.

Onto the fertile front... I had my consult with Dr. F today. We are not going to do a lap. He said that based off what I have told him about my symptoms, if I do have endo it would be a pretty minor case. It said that the Remicade infusions actually probably help with Endo if i do have it, so the only good a lap would do is to remove endo if I do have it, and that would only help if I planned on doing a lot more IUIs.

Instead we only want to do 1 more IUI. I don't want to waste all my insurance coverage on IUIs. So we are moving onto injectables starting the end of August/beginning of September. When I get my next period in about two weeks I will call the RE's office and go in for a lesson on giving myself injections. Then around cd 22 I will start Lupron to suppress my ovaries, then when I get my period again I will start with either follistom or Gonal-F and we will continue that until it is time to trigger. The goal will be to produce 3 good sized follies. If we get over 5 he will cancel our cycle.

If this IUI doesn't work than that is it for IUIs. Hopefully we would be able to start IVF in January or February. It all depends on whether or not I keep up my current rate of weight loss. I am really hopeful for this IUI though. I trying not to get too excited, but i can't help it. I have been completely hopeless for the past four months, I just want to have some hope back.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Power of Friends

In the past two weeks it seems like bad news just keeps raining down on me. First my Mother In Law got hospitalized for kidney failure and low heart rate. It was very scary there for a couple days. Thankfully she was released a couple days later, but she will most likely need dialysis once a week from now on. Then I found out yesterday that my Uncle was admitted to the hospital for headaches and disorientation. It turns out he has spinal meningitis. He has some of the best doctors treating him, so we are very hopeful that he will be OK. He will definitely need lots of rehab to be able to speak normally again. On top of that my sister had a colonoscopy to try and figure out what is causing her stomach problems, but they didn't give her enough drugs during the procedure and she could feel and remembers everything. She was in a lot of pain and, lets face it, that is not a procedure you want to remember in the first place.

This was all on top of everything else that is already going on in my life. The fertility problems, the hubs changing jobs, my extreme dislike for my job right now, and the surprise bout of strep throat that decided to descend on me yesterday. It has all just been a little too much for me.

But the good thing is people that you never thought would step up and be there for you start coming out of the wood work. I broke down and started sobbing at work yesterday because it all just came crashing down on me. I walked in and one of my co-workers asked how I was, and I couldn't even fathom how to answer that question and started sobbing. Before I knew it another co-worker comes rushing up and starts patting my back and asking me what's wrong and do I want to talk about it. Then I come into work today and she has a card for me that says "Thinking of you" and a very sweet note from her inside. I started tearing up again and had to walk outside so I wouldn't have another break down. But that little gesture meant so much to me. I don't think she'll ever know how much it helped.

Then there are the dozens of women that I only know through screen names and facebook pages that sent me words of condolence and understanding. You see I post on a discussion board for infertile women. But we share so much more than that. We talk about what is going on in our lives in general, what we are excited about, and what we are scared of. Because as any woman that has ever dealt with fertility issues knows, IF starts to creep into every aspect of your life. For instance the second thought to go through my head when I found out about my MIL was "She can't die before we have kids!" The first thought was "oh god is she OK" of coarse. But the women on the infertility board understand all of this. When I went back to my post about everything that was going on it just struck me how much these women help me everyday. Even on days when I don't have it in me to post much, they are there helping each other, on the ready for the next question or crisis. And those twenty some replies to my post just made me feel supported even more than I already did.

It was then that I realized how much I have to be happy about. I have a husband that loves me and is willing to sleep on the couch so I can have the whole bed to myself when I am sick. I have family that at the drop of a hat are on the phone calling each other when anything goes wrong, and are willing to drive in the middle of the night to be with you when there is an emergency. I have a few friends that I know I can call/email/or text and they will be there to listen. Everything in my life may not be perfect all the time, hell it can be down right crappy at times. But at the core, it is good. In the middle of all this crap happening in my life it was really nice to be reminded of that.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Plan....

So AF has come and gone. I am temping and charting again, which is not my favorite thing to do, but whatever it takes right. I have also been consulting Dr. Google (which Dr. F actually encourages) and I have some symptoms in common with Endometriosis. I don't have all the symptoms, but some of them. So I have decided to make an appointment with Dr. F to sit down and talk through what we can do to figure some stuff out while I am on this stupid break. I know doing a lap is one possibility, not sure if there is more that we could do.

I also want to talk to him about the possibility of doing an injectables IUI at the end of the summer. IVF just scares the crap out of me (mostly the egg retrieval part) and I want to try everything we can before moving to IVF. So I want one more shot at IUI. I may also ask for a repeat HSG to see if my right tube stayed open after the Tubal Recannulization.

So we shall see if anything news comes of all that.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I miss cycling... aka whine-fest

Even though I am pretty sure I ovulated on my own this month, I still have no hope that it will result in anything. And I really really miss the hope and the feeling that I am doing something. I know I am losing weight so we can do IVF, and I am very hopeful that IVF will do the trick, but I hate not doing anything active to get PG. I tried to time sex with the hubs last week just in case I was right and did ovulate, but he has been so exhausted lately that I didn't have the heart to seduce him into being awake after work, and we only did the naughty twice last week. It would make things so much easier if he wanted to know when I am ovulating, but he made it clear back when we first started trying that he doesn't want to feel like a sperm donor, he doesn't want sex to become all about making a baby. And it isn't. Once I initiate things, it is mostly just about how much I love being close to him and how good he makes me feel. I just like having sex with him! But I can understand how he would feel that way.

I think part of the reason being on a break is bothering me so much this week is that I hurt my leg last Monday during one of my couch to 5k workouts and I had to take last week off from working out. Thankfully I haven't gained any weight this week, but I haven't lost any either. So everything has just been feeling stagnant.

I am starting to really resent my body, which I hate. I have always had the same gripes as any other girl. I hate my thighs, I hate my flabby arms, etc. But I have always been pretty good with being a big girl. I know how to dress my body so I look my best, and I love my boobs and I love the curve from my waist to my hips (may be curvier than some like, but I like it). But right now I hate everything about my body. I see the stretch marks more than I used to, I look at my tummy and all I see is how empty it really is. Everything about my body has started to represent my life without children. I think that is part of the reason why I haven't gone clothes shopping even though everything is just hanging on me right now. I just don't want to spend all that time looking in the mirror. I had to get ready for a wedding the other day and I was in a total funk all day because I hate having to look at myself in the mirror and evaluate how I look.

I just feel like it isn't just getting pregnant that is on hold... it is everything. I haven't started any projects around the house b/c I am so obsessed with going to the gym and when I am not at the gym, distracting myself from thinking too much. I can't look for new jobs even though I hate the one I have because my company provides fertility coverage. I am so lucky to get almost everything covered, but it is also a pain because it means if I want to start a family I have to stay until I get pregnant. I just want to be happy about something other than my husbands new job. I am actually jealous of him because he has so much forward movement going on in his life, and I am just watching.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


What is this? A baking post? Huh, imagine that! I know I have been lax on the baking lately, mostly because I can't eat what I bake. But today I made cupcakes for my hubby's second to last day at work. this will be the first time since we started dating that we will not work together everyday. I am kinda sad, but also very excited that he is starting this new career that he is hopeful of. So I decided to celebrate his last week day at work by making Cupcakes!

His new job is at a casino, so I made casino themed cupcakes. The flavors were Cheesecake Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Cupcakes. The Cheesecake ones were divine. I was really rushed with the PB ones, and they turned out pretty dry. Both the recipes came from Martha Stewart's Cupcake Cookbook. I have been really hit and miss with Martha's cupcakes. I love one recipe, and really not very impressed with the next recipe I try.

So here are the resulting cupcakes: The decorations were made with gum paste and were by far the most labor intensive part of the whole thing. I sat there for hours this morning painting the poker chips while watching 'My So Called Life' on Hulu. Not a bad way to spend the morning actually. I am really happy with how they turned out, and I may actually make them again for G's first day of officially working at the Casino.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Little Emotional Today...

I did not expect father's day to be this hard. I didn't have a huge problem with Mother's Day because I just stayed focused on my Mom and no one at work that day was a Mom. But today coming to work is hard. One of the guys here has an 8 month old baby boy. His wife gave him a white polo shirt with these two blue baby foots prints on the chest (like where the izods alligator would go).

I don't know why but seeing that shirt made me so sad. I almost started crying when he walked in and was telling our other co-worker about it, he was just beaming. I want to see my hubs like that in the worst way. I want to make stupid presents for Father's Day, and see him be all proud. As hard as it is to think about possibly never being a Mom, thinking about G never being a Dad is even harder. He will be such a fantastic Dad. Just today he was making my baby nephew laugh like crazy by doing a zombie impression. I just want him to be able to do that with our kids.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Holy crap, could it be?

Could I be ovulating on my own, with no medical help at all? Some signs point to yes. I have been contemplating going to get some Ovulation Predictor Kits because I have been feeling twitches in the ovarian area for a couple days now. But then I thought it might just be gas too, because when I have Crohn's related pain it is in the same basic area.

But then today I went to the bathroom and I had EWCM!!! Just a tiny little bit, but unmistakable. For those who don't know (all two or three of you) EWCM is egg white cervical mucus. Basically it is when you have a discharge that looks like egg whites. It is one of the signs that you are approaching ovulation, and it helps protect sperm on it's way to the egg. I haven't had EWCM ever that I can remember, other than once with my last IUI cycle.

I am not counting my eggs before they ovulate though. I still have no clue if anything real is going on in there. Plus, we did three IUIs that were perfect on paper. Had a strong follie, great sperm count, timing was good. And obviously I still didn't get PG. But I am definitely going to get some OPKs today. And if it turns out I am ovulating on my own, you can be sure I will be seducing The Hubs this weekend, I don't care how tired he is. If there is even the slightest of chances I will give it a shot.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Week of Annoyances

So what was supposed to be a week filled with fun and relaxation turned into a very traumatic and emotional week spent in my car.

It started off well though. I met up with some of my fellow infertiles Saturday and it was great. So much fun talking to girls who have been where you are, who get it 100%, and to top it off are freaking amazing in ways having nothing to do with their IF troubles.

Unfortunately it was pretty much all down hill from there. I haven't been able to stop talking about our new puppy addition to the family for weeks now. We finally got to go pick her up and something happened that I never even thought about. Our dog Wallace decided he didn't want another puppy around and attacked her. Twice. I thought maybe he had been stressed from all the time in the car, we spent a total of 30 hours in the car over the coarse of the week. Maybe once we got in our own house and worked with him a little he would get over it. Not so much. While the Hubs and I were taking all three of the dogs on a walk Wallace lunged for her. I pretty much decided at that moment that we couldn't keep Penny. But Hubs and I still sat down to have an extremely sucky conversation about what to do. We ended deciding it would be best (and safest) if we took Penny back to the rescue and got Wallace enrolled in some behavior training classes.

Now this is the first time I have ever seen an iota of meanness in Wallace. He is a big sweet fluffy puppy. OK 'big' may be a slight understatement. He does weigh 106 pounds. But he has never been mean to another person, dog, or cat in his two year life. Squirrels are another story. So this had me pretty freaked out. What would happen when we bring a baby home? Would he react the same way? How can I trust him now when other people and animals come into our house? As a result of all of this we are going to be working double time to try and figure out what caused him to act this way towards Penny and how we can avoid it from happening again. I think for the foreseeable future we are going to stick to being a two dog family though. Don't worry about Penny, she is being adopted by her extraordinarily awesome foster mom. I think this is the best thing that could have happened to her, because her Mom is the best, and I get to keep up with how she is doing through Facebook.

On top of all of the puppy drama, I just found out my oldest sister may also have Crohn's Disease. Seriously I would not wish this illness on my worst enemy. I hate it, and my future often seems really scary because I can't predict what new and interesting way my body is going to betray me down the line. Knowing that my sister may have to go through everything I went through is a hard pill to swallow. Thankfully, I will be able to help her if it turns out she does have Crohn's. She is still waiting on some tests to see if it is Crohn's or possibly Celiac's, or some other random disease. But hey maybe if she does have it we can have tele-dates at our remicade appointments.

On a good news front, the hubs put in his three weeks notice at his job!!!! He will be starting his new and exciting career in the beginning of July. I can't wait for him to only be working 40 hours a week again. I feel like I never get to see him,even though we live and work together. It will be seriously weird not having him at work with me everyday anymore, but I know this career change is going to make him so much happier. And really his happiness (and mine) is my #1 priority.